The Word Factory

Daily broadsides from The Baffler's just-in-time corps of knowledge workers

Not Just Band-Aids

Emily CarrollFebruary 21, 2017
healthcare rally
healthcare rally

As the Trump administration continues its campaign to repeal Obamacare and Republican legislators dodge constituents in fear of losing their coverage, headlines paint the health care debate as a simple tennis match between the two major parties.

The Slow Confiscation of Everything

Laurie PennyFebruary 17, 2017
Lorie Shall
Lorie Shall

There will be no definite moment can say that yes, today we are fucked, and yesterday we were unfucked. Instead the fuckery increases incrementally year on year, until this is the way the world ends: not with a bang, not with a bonfire, but with the slow and savage confiscation of every little thing that made you human, starting with hope.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerFebruary 17, 2017
Happy Day of Facts! / Twitter
Happy Day of Facts! / Twitter

Did you know that today is the Day of Facts? Museums and libraries around the country are tweeting furiously in support of their favorite commodity, knowledge.

Today in plutocrats: It’s not their fault, says science.

New Praetorianism

Patrick BlanchfieldFebruary 17, 2017
Cyril Fluck
Cyril Fluck

There is a fundamental synergy between Democratic chauvinist exceptionalism, GOP clash-of-civilizations dogma, and Trump’s grotesque strongman antics. The Democrats may prefer a reboot of Cold War apocalypticism; Trump, for his part, looks eager to tear up global treaties, toss international law aside, and throw American weight around in building a new twenty-first century order of Great Powers.

A Moment of Urgency

Sarah JaffeFebruary 16, 2017
Desai at a charter signing event
Desai at a charter signing event

We are pleased to share a new, syndicated series of interviews by Sarah Jaffe. INTERVIEWS FOR RESISTANCE will introduce you to some of the key figures in the growing movement(s) against our reactionary new federal government. We hope you will find comfort in knowing the crucial work of fighting back has already begun in many (sometimes unexpected) places, and find tools in these conversations for your own part in the struggle.

Follow the Mendacity

Chris LehmannFebruary 16, 2017
Gage Skidmore
Gage Skidmore

The key directive for the media, now that the Post’s reporting has claimed its first White House casualty, is not to let up on its side of its battle with the Trump White House for a moment. After all, the Flynn saga shows in stark relief that the preferred operating procedure in the sanctums of Trumpian power is complete executive impunity.

Borderline Delusion

Siddhartha DebFebruary 16, 2017
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
U.S. Department of Agriculture.

No room in this history for settler colonialism and slavery, none for the importation of cheap, easily exploited labor in the “on” periods, for the racial exclusions of the “off” periods expressed in a preference for white European populations.

Pax Trumplandia

Hannah GaisFebruary 15, 2017
Conference photos are tremendously exciting! / European External Action Service
Conference photos are tremendously exciting! / European External Action Service

Welcome to This American Carnage, your weekly slice of life from the country of Trump.

Another February, another Munich Security Conference, a.k.a. the “world’s most prestigious geopolitical gathering.” This time, though, the conference will take place as a resurgent, anti-globalist far right threatens to throw a wrench in the usual workings of international affairs.

The Long Haul

Amber A’Lee FrostFebruary 15, 2017
. / fdecomite
. / fdecomite

Dear Your Sorry Ass,

Like a lot of people, I spent the lead-up to the election expecting a Clinton victory and a rather business-as-usual political future. Even though I drifted to the left in the past year like many other millennial white guys (thanks Chapo!), I didn’t see it as a particularly awful outcome and planned a multi-month trip starting in December—a sort of once-in-a-lifetime, solo backpack around the world type deal I had been saving for since I graduated college.

Is Trump a Populist?

Max B. SawickyFebruary 15, 2017
When the election is over, what is left of "rightwing populism"? / Jamelle Bouie
When the election is over, what is left of "rightwing populism"? / Jamelle Bouie

People relate “rightwing populism” to the excoriation of immigrants, demonization of the poor, and railing about high finance on the campaign trail. That criticism never amounts to any actual policies when the candidate is in office. What’s left is simply xenophobia and bigotry, which can be drawn out in all sectors of the population, including the working class.

Deportation Nation

Sarah JaffeFebruary 14, 2017
ICE police raid
ICE police raid

I think we sugarcoat it by making it very procedural, but actually, that night she was kidnapped from her family and there are many of us in the community that took action. We had them waiting outside in vigil for Lupita in hopes that the director would have released her.

Old School

Scott BeauchampFebruary 14, 2017
dake_crop_square
dake_crop_square

Anatomist Louis Bolk once called humans sexually mature primate fetuses. (And yes, it sounds suitably disturbing in the original German: einen zur Geschlechtsreife gelangten Primatenfetus.) As Bolk patiently explained, our evolutionary history is something of an arms race between the pelvic size of mothers and the skull size of offspring, which means, in turn, that we’re born half-made and unfinished.